Elon Musk's SpaceX has launched a rocket into space carrying 60 satellites. This is just an early phase of the company's goal to use a satellite network to provide cheap internet access to people anywhere in the world.
The satellites were launched at 10:30 p.m. ET from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a Falcon 9 rocket. Each satellite weighed 500 pounds, making this the heaviest payload that SpaceX has ever launched.
Once in space, the satellites will launch from the rocket and spread out like "spreading a deck of cards on a table," according to Musk. While the launch and satellite deployment proved to be successful, Musk hedged his bets before it happened admitting that "[t]here is a lot of new technology here, so it's possible that some of these satellites may not work."
In a tweet, Musk said that all 60 of these satellites were online.
These 60 satellites are the first of thousands that Musk plans to send into orbit to circle the entire planet and create cheap internet available to most people worldwide. He has acknowledged that other companies that tried similar endeavors have gone bankrupt, but said that this project, dubbed "Starlink," has "sufficient capital" to complete its mission. This project is expected to cost multiple billions of dollars.
If completed, Musk's satellites would outnumber all of the roughly 2,000 satellites currently in Earth's orbit. Starlink won't be able to provide any internet access until at least 400 of these satellites are in orbit.
Amazon has plans to create a similar network of internet-providing satellites, as do the companies OneWeb and Telesat.